Faster operations, generate leads and repeat customers, minimize overhead costs, convenience, gain credibility, – these are just some of the benefits of having an online platform for your business. However, there’s a lot to consider if you’re looking to build an online store.
As retail trends continue to favor online selling, retailers make it a point to create an online store for their business.However, getting people to click on your website or product is just the first step. How can you convince your consumers to actually buy from you? If you’re looking to kick start a successful online business, here are five steps on starting an online business:
1. Choose an e-commerce solution for your business.
Choosing the best e-commerce platform depends on your business’ budget and your level of expertise when it comes to web developing. There are three types of e-commerce platforms:
- Hosted: A hosted e-commerce solution is suitable for novices in site building. In a hosted solution, you build your website within the host’s server. They provide you with the basics to build and power your online store. Shopify, BigCommerce, Wix, and Squarespace are some of the most popular hosted e-commerce solutions available in the market.
- Licensed: Licensed solutions are often the most flexible e-commerce solutions, but this type of solution is usually more expensive and demands more development time. With licensed solutions, you have to find your own hosting and security protections.
- Open Source:An open source solution usually requires you to create your website from scratch. If you’re looking for a platform that lets you exercise your creative freedom, you might want to check out an open source solution. However, heavy programming is involved to configure your website.
2. Start building your online store.
Regardless of the type of solutionyou’re going to choose, it’s important to learn its functionality. You can also start putting up important web pages such as product and category pages, contact page, home page, and the content pages. As you go about designing your website, be consistent with your branding and design.
3. Choose a domain name.
A domain name is your web address or URL – where potential customers find your website. Choosing a domain name for your business is a big decision. You can either use the name of your business or create a new one. Make sure to keep it short and simple. Once you’ve decided on a domain name, pick an extension (.com, .biz, .net) and then register it with a domain name provider.
4. Decide how you’ll receive payments.
Before launching your online store, you have to figure out how you’ll receive payments from customers. You may want to start with the basics – Google Checkout or PayPal. You can also accept credit/debit card payments directly on your website. If you choose the latter, make sure to research on credit card processing options suitable for your business.
5. Advertise your online store.
Once you’ve created your website, the next step is to figure out how you’ll reach out to potential customers. An effective advertising/marketing strategy will drive customers to your online store. Make use of email marketing, social media, SEO, and other types of online marketing. Even if you have the most beautiful, organized, and user-friendly website in the world, if people can’t find your store, your efforts will go to waste.
Creating a fully functional, search engine optimized website requires time and money. If you think you need to take out a loan to fund your online store, you can discuss your options with SMB Compass! You can contact us by phone at (646) 569-9496 or email us at [email protected]